Community Service: A Family's Guide to Getting Involved
What Kids Can Learn From Volunteering
If volunteering begins at an early
age, it can become part of kids' lives - something they might just
expect and want to do.
It can teach them:
A sense of responsibility. By
volunteering, kids and teens learn what it means to make and keep a
commitment. They learn how to be on time for a job, do their best,
and be proud of the results. But they also learn that, ultimately,
we're all responsible for the well-being of our communities.
That one person can make a difference. A
wonderful, empowering message for kids is that they're important
enough to have an impact on someone or something else.
The benefit of sacrifice. By giving up a
toy to a less fortunate child, a child learns that sometimes it's
good to sacrifice. Cutting back on recreation time to help clean up
a beach tells kids that there are important things besides
ourselves and our immediate needs.
Tolerance. Working in community service
can bring kids and teens in touch with people of different
backgrounds, abilities, ethnicities, ages, and education and income
levels. They'll learn that even the most diverse individuals can be
united by common values.
Job skills. Community service can help
young people decide on their future careers. Are they interested in
the medical field? Hospitals and clinics often have teenage
volunteer programs. Do they love politics? Kids can work on the
real campaigns of local political candidates. Learning to work as a
team member, taking on leadership roles, setting project goals -
these are all skills that can be gained by volunteering and will
serve kids well in any future career.
How to fill idle time wisely. If kids
aren't involved in traditional after-school activities, community
service can be a wonderful alternative.
Good Volunteer Jobs for Families and Kids
Families can do many volunteer jobs. Even the smallest child
(with adult supervision) can pick up garbage at the park,
playground or beach. You don't even have to be part of a big effort
to do this. Get your family together, find some garbage bags and
Or become involved in repair and renovation efforts for
low-income residents. Younger kids might not be able to do the big
jobs, but helping out by fetching a paintbrush or holding the nails
involves them just the same.
Work at a community food bank or soup kitchen as a family. Find
an organization that serves the elderly. Take food to people who
are homebound and visit with them. Your kids can brighten a lonely
senior's day instantly. Offer your family's help at the local
animal shelter. Help plant flowers or trees. The possibilities are
Whatever you choose to do, volunteering and community service
can benefit both the community and your family. Get involved
Reviewed by: Steven
Date reviewed: October 2010